BEIJING -- China is willing to consider any application from NATO-member Turkey to join a Russian and Chinese-led security bloc, China's Foreign Ministry said on Monday, after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said his country could join.
China, Russia and four Central Asian nations -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan -- formed the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in 2001 as a regional security bloc to fight threats posed by radical Islam and drug trafficking from neighbouring Afghanistan.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that Turkey is already a dialogue partner of the bloc and has for a long time closely cooperated with it, which China appreciates.
China attaches great importance to Turkey's wish to strengthen that cooperation, he told a daily news briefing.
"We are willing, together with other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and in accordance with the rules of its legal documents, to seriously study it on the basis of consensus consultation," Geng added, without elaborating.